Dewy Webs

Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed these dewy spider webs while driving yesterday. Luckily I had my camera with me and was able to grab a couple quick shots with the 105mm DC while getting swarmed by about 10,000 mosquitoes.

I have to say again how fantastic this lens is. These are straight JPEGs from the camera. No editing was done to them, except for resizing and a little cropping.

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Flying

I had something cool happen at the barn last weekend and I thought it would be worth putting on here to share.

Over the past year, Charm has had lameness issues off and on. Sometimes she’s pretty good and other times I fear she is in pain. This has not been fun to deal with as many horse people can relate to. A couple of months ago I had the chiropractor out for an adjustment and Charm adjusted nicely and we also decided that my saddle may be part of the problem.. maybe it’s restricting her movement and causing her problems that could be related to her pain. So since that appointment, I have put my saddle away and have been riding her either bareback or just with the bareback pad (usually when I don’t want to get my jeans dirty or full of hair).

Since the weather has improved, we’ve ventured out into the fields and woods for some rides. She’s moving a lot better and I have been comfortable asking her for a little more lately. We’ve galloped in the fields a couple of times and she seems to go up and down the hills without any sign of pain or lameness.

Last Monday, it was raining out and I didn’t have a lot of time, so after a short warmup and after feeling like we were good and connected, I hopped up for a bareback and bridleless ride around the indoor arena. I didn’t really have a plan, just see what she had to offer me and get a good 10 or 15 minute ride in quickly. Charm has a horrific trot, so I asked her to canter and we were going around and she was doing great. I’ve always had a harder time asking for the right lead while riding bareback, so I have been working at getting better at that. So we were in the right lead and I thought about going through the middle for a simple change to the left. So we did, except Charm didn’t trot she kept cantering through the middle (my mistake? I tried to slow her, but she had something else in mind). So we went to the left and I was just about to bring her back down to a trot so I could pick up the (correct) left lead, when I suddenly realized, we WERE on the left lead! She did a flying change! And I didn’t even notice it! I was so excited! I stopped her after a few strides and told her how wonderful she was and loved on her and smiled. We’ve never been able to nail flying changes consistently and it’s one of those big goals I’ve always had that I haven’t been able to achieve.

So I thought, huh.. well, let’s try again. So we did the same pattern and BAM! Flying change. Again. Flying change. At this point I think I let out a few shouts of joy, I could hardly contain myself. So of course, with everything like this, no one is there to witness it. There were others in the barn, just not in the arena, I  quickly hopped of and asked Tracey if she would mind recording us (iPhone). I knew it might not happen again, but I had to try to capture this so I could see it and study it.

I hopped back up and Charm gave me two more flying changes in a row! I was so happy and we were able to get it on video. Here it is!

After watching it, I couldn’t believe how smooth it was. It was effortless for her. No tail swish, no late change behind, it was perfect. She even sped up in the middle to make the change too and I love how she blows out and relaxes just before we go through the middle. It just shows me that she was really trying for me. She made it happen, she did it for me. Normally she is more on the lazy side and does not like to use her body. I am hoping this will happen again for us, but if it doesn’t I am happy that we got it on video and I can remember the feeling we had together.

The Nikon 105mm f/2 DC

I was recently able to splurge and get the lens I’ve been pining over for the past 6 months.

The Nikon 105mm f/2 DC!

This is one of Nikon’s best portrait lenses and is said to be their sharpest 105mm.

But besides that, it has a very unique feature called “Defocus Control”, that’s where the DC comes from. This has often been misunderstood as a soft focus lens, but in fact it’s quite the opposite. When used properly, your subject stays in focus and the background is enhanced with the best, amazing, creamy bokeh that you’ve ever dreamt of!

I really like bokeh. So naturally I wanted this lens.

There are only two lenses that are made with this DC feature. The Nikon 105mm f/2 DC and the Nikon 135mm f/2 DC. And now I am the proud owner of a 105!

I’ve been able to practice shooting with it over the past week and have been really impressed with the results.

I think the most impressive thing is the color and clarity that is possible.

Here is a little gallery of some of my favorites from this past week.
These are the JPGs straight from the camera. No edits, just resized.
Please click on the picture to see the full resolution.

I am looking forward to doing some actual portrait sessions with this lens. Hopefully the weather turns around soon! I’m ready for green grass, leaves and spring flowers!

Cave Point • Before the Thaw

This past weekend I was able to spend a night away in Door County! It was a much-needed break from the daily grind. On Sunday, I was able to shoot Cave Point. I’ve been wanting to get up to the Apostle Islands to experience the amazing ice caves, but it just didn’t work out this year. So Cave Point was a good alternative. I was happy to be able to play around with my fairly new Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8. I am still getting the hang of this lens and I feel like I got some good shots. Also, I used the 50mm for a few too.

This has been the coldest winter on record in North East Wisconsin. I’m not sure when we’ll see ice like this again.